Tiger Stripe Dogs – Real or Hoax? You Be The Judge


The Question

These striped puppies have been seen all over China in many different areas being sold by vendors. Are these puppies a genetically engineered dog? Or are their tiger stripes a very impressive dye job? Looks like the mystery continues as to exactly what breed they are and how they got that way.

We found some notable comments online on both sides of the controversy that we thought might be of interest to you.

Comments Supporting That The Striped Puppies Are Real

One commenter wrote: These striped dogs have been referred to as Wuxi China Bengal Dogs and are considered good luck especially in the Year of the Tiger.

“These dogs are genetically engineered and have been recognized as a breed for around two years now. The coat patterns are real, not painted,” said Kylie.

Tanya from Xiamen, China said, “one of the striped puppies was fortunate to be purchased by a woman who adored them. I held the dog for about 15 minutes, if it’s dye I would think the dye would come off on my clothes. The stripes had the same texture as the rest of the fur. The stripes went all the way down to the skin. Unless it was dyed that day, you would  think there would be roots or faded portions within the stripes. I really don’t think this is a dye job.”

“A few days ago was my daughters 4th birthday,” Tiffany said, “and my husband bought her one of these puppies. He was dehydrated and very hungry and slept a lot. He also had a mild case of fleas, so I gave him a flea bath. If these stripes are indeed dye, they are a very powerful dyes because they did not come off when I bathed him. Which also arises my next question… if he was dyed, how could they dye so close to his eyes and nose and not leave any permenant damage?? He is very young maybe 6 weeks, so I would think harsh dyes would blind or aggravate his skin.”

“…I found more of these remarkable puppies including the ones with the white socks,” said Lorna, “they are seemingly not painted or dyed.”

Comments Supporting That They Are Fake

Another commenter: Dog owners in China are actually known for the fad of dyeing their dogs to resemble pandas and tigers using a simple airbrush and vegetable dyes.

Maureen from Macua, China said, “I have seen this kind of dog more than once in China, once in ZhuHai last fall and then in the city of Guangzhou. Both times the dogs were for sale from a street vendor, they were not all the same colour, but they were all striped. The only thing I can think is that the stripes are spray painted on.”

“I recently bought one of these dogs in Beijing China,” said Kurtis, “I got it home and it was very dehydrated. I took it to the vet today and they confirmed that it’s hair had been dyed. It is a black dog, that gets to be about medium sized. They dye the orange part, that’s why the orange is never around the eyes, or nose, and the stripes are so uniform. The vet stated that the dye would wear off in about 2 months, and that the dog would be healthy unless we continued to dye the dog.”

One Person’s Conclusion

“Thus, in conclusion,” continues Kurtis, “this is not a new breed of dog. It is officially dyed and this dye job is not the real coat of this dog. Hope this helps solve the mystery. The Chinese believe that dogs give more “potency” depending on their color, ranging from white; the lowest, to blue; the maximum, and the rarest are striped dogs, so much so that unscrupulous purveyors will dye dogs striped. Striped dogs fetch higher prices than their non-striped, ordinary cousins.”

Other Thoughts

Kiongozi said “These puppies are dyed that way to look more appealing to potential owners. It’s the new fad for dogs in some parts of China, people are dying them to look like tigers, pandas, etc. There are some serious health concerns for quite a lot of these pets, as it’s not certain if the dye is bad for them. But, no, these pups aren’t genetically enhanced or bred that way… it’s a money making strategy.”

Daniel responded, “Dogs that look like pandas?! No way. And we all thought dogs that look like tigers were bad enough. Where does it end?”

What Do You Think?

Do you have any experience or knowledge about these dogs? Let us and the rest of the community know by leaving a comment.


by Shelley Mamott

Stories, videos and news

47 thoughts on “Tiger Stripe Dogs – Real or Hoax? You Be The Judge

  1. Kat says:

    Anyone wishing to learn more on the subject should read the book: WHY PAINT CATS The ethics of feline aesthetics.
    Fur is lightened by using neutralized bleach, and colored with non-toxic natural vegetable dyes. It can be painted on by hand, dipped, air brushed or blow pen with the use of stencils, etc.. There are many techniques.
    Technically, these are black puppies that are bleached all over, leaving untouched stripes of black fur, so there would be NO dye to rub off in the first place.
    Even with all the genetic know-how of DNA engineering, there is NO basis for this type of striping on canines other than a natural brindle coat (which this is NOT) and you can’t just “whip up” a nifty paint job genetically like that. The only natural color on these pups is the plack and the white. The orange striping is simply the result of creative bleaching, nothing more!

  2. Anonymous says:

    The bleaching makes sense. After reading about that I looked back at the pictures and thought the black dogs bleached to make the orange stipes is correct. The dogs don’t have an orange stripe across their eyes because they would get bleach in their eyes. I agree that they are fake.

  3. Cass says:

    Look back at the second picture, how some dogs are clearly a different breed than others. Its very clear these dogs are died.

  4. Gabrielle Do says:

    My dad used to have those kinds of dogs, but whenhe had to move to the USA he had to leave his dog behind and given to a different person, they are real!!

  5. Not a hoax says:

    Striped dogs are No hoax…I Fought off a full sized one yesterday running loose w/ no collar at a park here in NC when it attacked my little dog while I was walking. The one I saw was shaped like a german shepard and had pointy ears and slender muzzle. Weighed about 75 lbs had loose skin, so maybe not full grown.

    • Dev says:

      To the guy who said he fought one off in NY sounds like you fought off a brindle Belgian Malenuas(not sure how to spell) but they are a Belgian Shepard looks a lot like a German Shepard very popular dog with police and military they can have long or short coats and come in many color variations including different Brindles!! Take it from someone with a real striped dog those in the pics are fake as it gets!!!

  6. Elizabeth says:

    These dogs are fake, there is this disgusting fad in China for making dogs to look like other animals. Either bleached or dyes, these look like bleach. It is disgusting and should be outlawed. The more of this stuff I see the more I dislike my fellow human beings.

  7. Ash says:

    These dogs are REAL. I lived in China for 6 years and had one for 2 of them. Those stripes never faded out, grew out or changed colour.

  8. dogboyachopchop says:

    Obviously these are fake. Funny how all but one person that is in favor of the dogs being real has spelling errors in the text .
    I know it’s not a classroom but just strange.
    Just like the snuggie is real but you have a blanket in the closet but it has no arms so you can’t drink soda and eat chips in that with out getting a draft on your fat ass whilst watching trash on the TV.

    • Julie says:

      Omg, will you marry me? I love a man who knows correct grammar and punctuation. I’m being completely serious…prob my OCD, lol. I also love a man who’s passionate about animals. Again I say, MARRY ME!

  9. Savage Cabage says:

    It looks like it might be a trend that you have would go to the dog salon to get you dog dyed, its it real I would like one.

  10. TAZ says:

    One of you sound like you thinking of the Tazmainian Tiger, and that was in Australia not bloody China, its extinct now and either way it looks nothing like one of these dogs. Lots of people are geting their dogs dyed at the dogs hair dressers these days.

  11. Charles says:

    They are real! I’m holding mine right now. Bought her yesterday. I’m a science teacher here in China and I don’t think they can fake anything with the precise coloration around the eyes, nose, mouth, ears and pubic area like our “Misha”. The black hairs are intermixed with other colors all the way down to the skin. Consistently. All over the body. You can’t “mix” hair colors when you dye something. Our puppy is healthy, active and so pretty (but was a bit expensive). My only wonder is if she will keep her strips as she gets older, or loose them like a fawn looses its spots. She’s not quite as darkly striped as the prettiest one in this picture but close. The vender was selling her lesser stripped sisters and brother for less, so if they were dyed, why not dye them all all darkly rather than ask less money for the non-striped one and the lesser striped ones? Not logical for a “greedy” dye job rip-off. I think it’s a new breed. Could hardly believe my eyes, wondering if it was for real myself, until I looked on line and found this page. I hope we can get a “puppy passport” for her so we can keep her when we leave China next year also.

  12. Charles says:

    Misha update: She lost ever stripe. Entirely. I still think they were gentic from birth, but she grew out of them and is not a brownish dog with black tipped hairs on the back that replaced the stripes. I’m very disappointed, but she’s still a very nice dog. She looks more like a Jackel now.

    • Wonszu says:

      Sadly I have to inform you that she didn’t lost her stripes, genetics doesn’t work this way. Your dog simply lost her dyed hair when she was changing her coat for summer or winter time, simple as that. She was never striped. You have a fake tiger doggy.

      It shouldn’t be a problem though if you love your dog.

      • tacoooo says:

        “Genetics don’t work like that”
        Are you stupid? Look at animals like Deer, Tapir, and Siamese cats.
        Genetics DO work like that, not that I’m saying this is real though.

      • Julie says:

        Very well put. Exactly what I would’ve said. My dog always starts shedding mid-spring to get cool for summer and then grows it back in before winter. So true, dear.

  13. Courtney says:

    I think that there are no such thing as tiger dog’s and I don’t think they are really real. I think they die there fer so they look like tiger dog’s

  14. Mike says:

    They are real from what i can see…. Today at the TOTAL PET EXPO being held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. in Rosemont, IL there was indeed a picture taken of one that is grown up not a little puppy . The picture can be seen on Petfoodzoom.com facebook page and while you are there check out the great deals they have on food and supplies

  15. Duke says:

    some are real and some are fake, if you buy a real one your are lucky, some are knockoffs to make money. my aunty has one in vietnam and she is 7 normal years old and she still has her stripes however, for the ones that the stripes fade away, you people just bought cheap knockoffs of this dog.

  16. Warren says:

    These are not a real breed; the striping is done using standard off the shelf hair bleach on a dark solid coloured puppy. There are real striped dogs which are called ‘Brindle’ which is a gene any breed of dog can inherit which can in extreme cases give a ‘tiger stripe’ effect but never in neat obviously painted stripes like those shown in the picture. Unfortunately it is another con used typically by street sellers to sell puppies to un suspecting passers by who equally unfortunately usually end up abandoning the dog when the coat grows out and they realise they were tricked. If you see these dogs for sale report the seller; but do not get confused with brindles which are real!

    • Julie says:

      I agree, very well said…except the part about the brindle gene/alele able to be inherited by any dog. It can but only if it’s a breed that comes in that color (along with other choices). You’re never going to find a pure bred brindle American Eskimo dog or another breed without that aesthetic already in it’s gene pattern.

  17. Julie says:

    Very cute! They almost look like lil striped teddy bears. Also very FAKE striping. As I’ve said before, it’s impossible to achieve this type of aesthetic without cross-species mutation, which is not only unlikely…but impossible. It’s only ever been done with very few other species and not very successfully, i.e. ligers & tigons. In my opinion, all of these experiments are inhumane to the animals and are not proper research. Furthermore, intermingling dog & big cat DNA just can’t be done.

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